The Blue Jays got just enough pitching and a couple big hits to squeak past the Yankees with the bullpen coming up big to both start and finish the game.
Wilmer Font opened the game, and looked great in working two perfect innings. He struck out three while sitting around 96-97 MPH with command, and perhaps the only surprising thing was that he come back out for a third inning given how dominantly he rolled through the top and middle of the Yankee order.
Nevertheless, he yielded to erstwhile starter Jacob Waguespack, who turned in a reasonable though abbreviated outing, though not as clean as I’m sure he hoped. the big issue was not finishing off innings. In each of his first three inning, he got the first two batters. In the 3rd and 5th he worked around walks to Mike Tauchmann. The damage came in the 4th and 6th innings. Gary Sanchez touched him up for a solo home run in the 4th, followed by hitting Gio Urshela.
The 6th inning wasn’t quite the same, as Waguespack gave up a leadoff single to Aaron Judge before getting the next the next two, but this time couldn’t finish it off as Urshela took him yard to the Flight Deck for a monster home run to tie the game. He’s only faced 17 batters, so it was a little surprising from a development perspective that he was removed at that point after 3.2 innings. But then there’s 10 guys in the bullpen.
Tim Mayza got the last out of the 6th, but ran into trouble in the 7th with a one out walk and then serving up a 3-1 meatball to Tauchmann that got hammered into the right-centre gap to put runners at 2nd/3rd. That was the end of him, with Jason Adam coming in and yielded a sac fly to D.J. LeMahieu and a walk to Judge before getting out of the inning with the damage limited.
The bullpen handled it from that point, as Adam struck out the first two in the 8th before Derek Law was brought in. He got Brett Gardner to two strikes before giving up a single, but a strikeout finished the inning. Ken Giles was once again unavailable, so Law came back out for the save. He faced the minimum for a relatively low stress inning, walking Tauchmann (again!), but inducing a game ending double play from LeMahieu.
For their part, the Jays squandered early chanced against the Yankee openers/bullpen. With two out Vladimir Guerrero Jr walked, but was stranded. In the second, with two out they drew three straight walks to load the bases, but again came away with nothing.
After a quiet third, they finally got on the board in the 4th, and in a big way. Justin Smoak walked leading off, and a batter later Derek Fisher singled to put two on for Tesocar Hernandez. He laid off a 1-1 breaking ball to get ahead in the count, and then smashed a hanger into the left field seat to put the Jays up 3-1.
The bats were quiet after that for a while, excepting Vlad scorching a ball off the left field wall, so hard hit he was held to a single though it missed going out by two feet. At 118.7 MPH off the bat, his second hardest hit of the year and fourth overall in MLB. Dan Shulman noted that it gave him eight of the 51 hardest hit balls despite missing the first quarter of the season. He’ll be a complete nightmare for the league of and when he figures out elevating the ball a little more.
After giving up the go ahead run in the top of the 7th, the bats woke back up in the bottom to re-take the lead, With one out, Bo Bichette walked, and Cavan Biggio hit a line drive single. Vladdy cashed them both with a double down the right field line for a triple (!). Unfortunately, he would not be cashed for an insurance run as Randall Grichuk and then Smoak struck out. Nor could they cash in a couple runners in the bottom of the 8th, but fortunately the one run lead held for a 5-4 win.
Super Jay of the Day: Vlad (+0.405 WPA)
Jays of the Day: Teoscar (+0.304), Law (+0.191). Adam (+0.106), Font (+0.100)
Blew Jays: Waguespack (-0.179), Mayza (-0.131), Grichuk (-0.119), Galvis (-.109)
Tomorrow the Jays will look to take the series and extend the Yankee losing streak to three at 1:05 eastern with Trent Thornton against Masahiro Tanaka.